By Alex Walker

A Long Time Ago, On a Web Server Far, Far Away…

By Alex Walker

The new Mac Pro: High-end server or Sith consumer good?

I thought this might be fun.

You may be aware that at last week’s WWDC, Apple announced a shiny, new line of remarkable-looking, high-end Mac Pros.

While they appear to be great hardware, it was the many comparisons drawn between them and Darth Vader that had me chuckling.

I saw them variously described as the ‘Sith Lord’s tissue box’, the ‘Dark side’s coffee cup’ and ‘Darth’s trashcan’.

Let’s face it, with all those glossy black, simple curves and that finely-honed engineering, it doesn’t require a huge leap of imagination to make that connection.

But I don’t think the comparisons end even there.

Have you seen Apple’s new corporate headquarters? Tell me that’s not a ‘Death Star v0.1. alpha’. Sure, the plans they’re pushing though Cupertino City Council, are all about the ‘jobs, trees and bike paths’.

But give it a few years and mark my words: that thing will be snuffing out rebel planets left and right.

There’s no denying it. Apple Inc is a ruthlessly efficient, high-tech and well-funded empire. Sound at all familiar?

So, as a webgeek and long-time Star Wars fan, it got me a-thinking…

If web languages/technologies were Star Wars characters, who would they be?

So, for my own entertainment (and hopefully yours) here’s my personal take on the subject, followed by tongue-in-cheek explanations.

On a Web Server Far, Far Away ...

1). IOS = Darth Vader: With that iron-fisted AppStore control, that closed source code philosophy, and those lithe, neo-industrial design lines, it’s hard to go past Apple as ‘The Empire’.

BTW: For the record, I am an iPhone & MacBook Pro user.

It’s interesting to think that five years ago most would have chosen Microsoft here.

2). JavaScript = Yoda: It is cross-browser and cross-platform. It is both front-end and back. Flows through all, it does. Wise you must be to its ways.

3). Rails = Han: From the start, Rails guys have had a reputation for being anti-corporate and even a little cocky. Some have used the words ‘cowboys’ and ‘rockstars’. Indeed, their founder and spiritual leader once went to lengths to describe himself as ‘an R-rated individual‘. Feels like a good fit here.

4). SASS = Leia: “Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?” C’mon, That’s pretty sassy!

5). HAML = Luke: I admit HTML5 probably fits better for the story, but it’s very hard to pass over the Mark Hammill/HAML gag. I couldn’t. Plus, HAML and SASS are sibling languages.

6). Linux = Ben Obi-Wan: Venerable but never fashionable. Slightly mysterious but also wise and powerful. “Use the Open Source, Luke.”

I did consider SQL here too.

7). Android = C3PO: I don’t think it needs much explanation. I considered R2-D2 here, but I believe androids are more human-shaped than a bot like R2. It is true that they are both constantly referred to as ‘droids’ in the films though.

8). PHP = Chewbacca: Powerful, trustworthy sidekick or hulking, shambling mess? You be the judge. It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.

9). Java = Jabba: OK, I admit the name similarities was probably enough for me. Java’s reputation for sluggishness with its enterprise leanings sealed the deal. Nobody wants to be Jabba.

Of course, these are all entirely my own views and are COMPLETELY subjective.

But what do you think?

  • Have I missed an obvious one?
  • Would R2-D2 fit in somewhere? (I would have liked drawing that one).
  • Who is Emperor Palpatine? And Boba Fett?

P.S. I completely refuse to acknowledge the existence of Jar Jar Binks for the purposes of this discussion — although Ricky’s suggestion of IE6 is a beauty!

  • Berislav Lopac

    R2D2 would definitely be Python: versatile (hacks into computers, fixes spaceships, projects holograms, extinguishes fires), indestructible, laconic and reliable. Also, flying: ;-)

    • Wade

      For the same reason you could say R2 is Perl… flexible, reliable, resourceful and… who the heck can understand him? (outside of the coder… write once read… never)

      • Alex Walker

        Oh, Wade! I like that one. Short, plucky, expressive but almost completely indecipherable.

  • Maggie

    I think Count Dooku would be appropriate for IE6, it’s poisonous and difficult to get rid of, though Jar Jar Binks is kind of the same. He might be IE7?

    • Jar Jar is way more loathed than Dooku. Jar Jar is definitely IE. Maybe Jar Jar would be IE6-8 and Dooku IE9/10, simply because Jar Jar appears first and seems to persist in the background a bit longer than he ought to?

      • Alex Walker

        I don’t think I could bring myself to dedicate time to drawing Jar Jar.

  • DT

    And Alex, you’d be Alex ‘Sky’ Walker I presume?

    • Alex Walker

      Hehehe.. oh, you know it!

  • What about Python. I think the ewoks would be the right choice, because they are as smart as Python.

    • Alex Walker

      Is Python cute? I think of the ewoks firstly as cute.

  • Alex Walker

    Ricky also put forward R2 as a GoogleBot. Industrious, resourceful, clever, friend of Android?

  • Emperor Palpatine has to be CLI. Those who switch to the dark side of the terminal window unleash great powers and quite often disturb the balance and the force.

  • Alexander DiMauro

    “I completely refuse to acknowledge the existence of Jar Jar Binks”

    Jar Jar who know? No idea what you are talking about…

    Anyway, I agree with Berislav Lopac and R2 as Python.

    The Darth Vader reference is tricky because both iOS and ASP.NET could fit there. Darth started good and became evil (like Apple and their hammer-fisted control over everything recently, as you explained), but at the end, Luke ‘saved’ him and he became good again at the end (like ASP.NET and Microsoft who, after all this time, finally changed and open-sourced their complete web stack).

    But, then again, the ‘good’ parts were as Anakin, not Darth, so your analysis is probably still valid.

    Also, wouldn’t Unix be more appropriate for Obi-Wan? He trained Vader (Apple based their OS on Unix), and he is the old master. Linux is more the new kid.

    • Alex Walker

      I did think long and hard about whether Obi-wan was more Unix or Linux. I think you’re right that *technically* Unix is a more correct fit. It’s older and more mysterious to most of us.

      I only went with Linux because as a web person, I’ve never dealt directly with a pure Unix system, where our VMs and servers have been Linux since the 90’s.

  • Robert

    Hehe. Good fun this!
    I wonder what Twiki (of Buck Rodgers fame) would be, according to you?
    I have no clue. Maybe that is just the case.

    • Alex Walker

      Oh, I couldn’t blend universes. That could be dangerous, like ‘crossing the streams’ in GhostBusters (damn, I think I just blended universes). hehehe..

      But we have talked about whether this idea might be fun with Star Trek or X-Men or,.. I don’t know… Smurfs? ;)

  • Achille

    Simply… wonderful!!!
    Next mission for you: Star Trek.

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